Pied Piper Park
Edmund Bacon, Philadelphia’s legendary city planner and the man for whom the Ed Bacon Foundation (www.edbacon.org) is named, also happens to be the father of actor Kevin Bacon. So let’s play Six Degrees of Edmund Bacon, to see how he was connected to some of the twentieth century’s biggest names in architecture and design: Bacon and Louis Kahn worked together on the 1947 Better Philadelphia Exhibition. Kahn was the subject of the acclaimed 2003 documentary My Architect (www.myarchitectfilm.com). Robert A. M. Stern, the dean of the Yale School of Architecture, appeared in that film. Stern once worked as a designer for the Pritzker Prize–winning architect Richard Meier. Meier worked for the Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer for three years. Breuer was I. M. Pei’s teacher at Harvard. And I. M. Pei’s Bingham Court was part of the revitalization of Philadelphia’s Society Hill spearheaded by…Edmund Bacon!
A suggestion for the protesters at Occupy Wall Street: take full advantage of New York City’s little-known bonus plazas. With some 3.5 million square feet of “free space” in the city’s 503 privately-owned public spaces, or POPS (www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/priv/priv.shtml), there’s more than enough room to spread out. As you may have noticed, Zuccotti Park is cramped—and living in a tent at this time of the year is no, uh, walk in the park. So before the temperatures drop any further, consider some of these swanky POPS favored by Manhattan’s one percent: the waterfall-decorated Paley Park on East 53rd Street, or the classy plazas outside Trump Palace on East 69th, Deutsche Bank on West 52nd, the Channel Club condo tower on East 86th, and of course, Citigroup Center on East 53rd.
Highway to Health
Ford isn’t the only organization concerned about collision avoidance and safety on the road. The U.S. government is also pulling out all the stops. In 2009, the Department of Transportation (DOT) launched Distraction.gov, a site dedicated to ending distracted driving by raising awareness. Its key message? The admirably simple “Put It Down!” (which applies equally well to smartphones, Big Gulps, Google Maps printouts, and pet Chihuahuas). In the meantime, the DOT’s Intel-ligent Transportation Systems Program (www.its.dot.gov) is developing technologies that will allow vehicles to send out “safety messages” with 360-degree locational information.